WEST FINDS THE STRANGEST THINGS TO COMPLAIN ABOUT…. With the new Congress poised to get started, there’s plenty of media attention being focused on some of the more provocative new members. For example, Rep.-elect Allen West (R-Fla.), well positioned to be one of the House’s most ridiculous members, is the featured interview today in the New York Times‘ Sunday magazine.
The NYT‘s Deborah Solomon asked West about President Obama’s relationship with the military. The right-wing Republican, a scandal-plagued Army veteran, replied, “I don’t know, you gotta ask guys in the military, but I will tell you this: I think that going in in the middle of the night doesn’t show leadership.”
It led to this exchange:
Solomon: Are you referring to that recent three-hour trip to a base in Afghanistan? He needs to consider his own safety, doesn’t he?
West: Leaders lead by example, and if I’m asking my young men and women to go out there and put their lives on the line, I should be willing and able to do the exact same thing. As I told my soldiers when I was commander in Iraq in 2003, the most expendable person in our battalion was me.
Solomon: Didn’t George W. Bush go in for a surprise visit to Iraq under similar circumstances? Remember the platter-of-turkey photo op on Thanksgiving Day?
West: I’m not saying that’s right, either. I’m saying that my understanding of leadership is a little bit different. Leadership is about being a servant first.
As a substantive matter, this is incoherent. West is effectively suggesting the commander in chief in a time of two wars is “expendable” and should therefore take unnecessary risks in order to “show leadership.” None of this makes a lick of sense.
But I’m also fascinated by what unhinged conservatives can come up with when it comes to whining about the president. I’ve seen the right launch some pretty odd salvos at President Obama over the last two years — remember when they were apoplectic for a week because Obama urged kids to work hard in school? — but this is a new one.
West isn’t complaining that the president visited U.S. troops in Afghanistan; he’s complaining about the time of day the president’s plane landed.
The level of Republican silliness continues to reach new depths.